Exploring Food and Lodging in Lake Placid

cinnamon roll. strawberries, maple syrup,, Generations, Lake Placid, foodie, cooking

While visiting Lake Placid earlier this year, I spent a day exploring this northern New York town.  Because it was a rainy day, we skipped some of the outdoor activities but we got to visit some neat places and enjoy good food and drinks (of course!).  I shared already about the very well set up Olympics Museum, my “adventure” at the luge training facility, and my skating at historic Herb Brooks Arena (check it all out here).  Having covered those sites so tied to Olympic history, I should probably share with you more of what Lake Placid has to offer.  In this post, I will share about some of the lodging, food, and drinks that I enjoyed checking out during my visit.

A lodge you can dream of – and then go see for yourself!

One of our stops was the Whiteface Lodge. I had heard it was an incredible place and it did not disappoint!  I was staying in the town of Lake Placid proper at the Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort which was ideally situated close to many places I visited and with a great restaurant (Generations) right on site (more on the restaurant below).

The Whiteface Lodge consists only of suites, and there are suites of every size.  Even the “small” ones are well-equipped with nice kitchens, fireplaces, large screen TVs, and balconies.  Some of the suites are outright “owned” by private individuals who may live there, visit there, or partially rent them back to the Lodge to then put into its reservations system.  The most amazing suite was the Presidential Suite which the General Manager of the resort kindly showed us since it was unoccupied that day.  I can safely say the Presidential Suite is bigger than my house!!!

Lake Placid, Whiteface Lodge, Presidential Suite, decor, travel, accommodations. lodging

The living and dining room areas of the Presidential Suite

I was impressed by the beauty of the outdoor areas and how the space is well-laid out for different activities that guests may opt to take part in.  For example, there is a fire pit for making smores (I didn’t get to eat any!).  The resort also has indoor spaces for every age and interest.  From a two-lane bowling alley, to its own movie theater, to a game room, and to a phenomenal spa for lots of R&R.

While I did not stay at the Whiteface Lodge, I can assure you I was not going to miss its bar (open to the public) to check out its specialty seasonal cocktails and tasty appetizers while chatting with friends.  Though they had a series of interesting martinis, I opted for a specialty cocktail (as I seem to have become a specialty cocktail adventurer) named Jacob Marley’s Return:  Bourbon infused with apples, cinnamon, and cloves with Frenet Branca, and maple water.  All these ingredients came together excellently for a cocktail perfect for the season and area of the country.

cocktail, Whiteface Lodge, Jacob Marley, Bourbon, maple syrup infused, Lake Placid

Introducing… Jacob Marley’s Return!!

As part of my visit, I was invited to try the thermal pools which was great as it was snowing and being outside in hot waters watching it snow was priceless.

Whiteface Lodge, Lake Placid, heated outdoor pool, jacuzzi

The steam from the heated pool makes for a slightly less than excellent photo but you get the point!

A different lodge

Lake Placid is big enough for more than one lodge and certainly for different kinds of them.  The Adirondacks Loj, operated by the Adirondack Mountain Club,  is perfect for those wanting a more basic place to stay.  Sitting at the edge of Heart Lake, the Adirondacks Loj offers also more of a communal feel with shared dining room and even shared rooms (you can have a private one).  The Loj seemed like a great base for hiking and its staff clearly was eager to help with information or anything else.  It may be a great place to use as a base but I think I would also enjoy cold winter nights in front of the massive stone fireplace!

Photos of Adirondak Loj, Lake PlacidThis photo of Adirondak Loj is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Great food everywhere.  I am not complaining.

No visit to a new town is complete without sampling the food on offer.  The night we arrived we went to a pub which was perfect for the mood after a five-hour drive in from the outskirts of New York City.  The Lake Placid Pub & Brewery was packed yet we had no trouble finding a spot to perch ourselves on.  I drank some pints of the oatmeal stout which was perfect to help me recover from the long day.  That stout and a delicious flatbread pizza of the many on offer and ilivetotravel was a happy camper that night!

The next night we went Lisa G’s known for their excellent chicken wings.  I had some as an appetizer but dove in for an incredible chorizo risotto with Manchego cheese that was out of this world.Lisa G, Lake Placid, restaurant, food, cuisine, cooking, foodie, chicken wings

Lisa G, Lake Placid, restaurant, food, cuisine, cooking, foodie

The chorizo risotto

For my beverage, I kept up the theme from the cocktail I had had earlier that evening at the Whiteface Lodge and chose a Bourbon-based cocktail:  The Sassy Cider – Bourbon with maple syrup, lemon juice, some cider, and a little cayenne pepper – perfect to warm me up after a cold and wet day!

The morning I was leaving, we went for brunch at the Generations Restaurant associated to the Golden Arrow (where I stayed this weekend).  With a great view of Mirror Lake, we enjoyed all sorts of good and impressive stuff, local-sourced and fresh.  The cinnamon roll with strawberries and maple syrup clearly hit the right spot for my sweet teeth (in plural, because I have more than one sweet tooth).

cinammon roll. strawberries, maple syrup,, Generations, Lake Placid, foodie, cooking

Mmm!!!!

Everything we tried was great and then the piece de resistence came to us:  bison burgers cooked on a Himalayan salt block.  I had never heard of the concept but a large salt block is heated to high temperatures and then brought to your table.  The bison burgers are laid on it and you let them cook until your preferred level of “cooked”  Ir was amazing to see this salt block cook my burger.  Here are the before and after pictures of this neat trick!

bison burger, Generations, Lake Placid, Himalayan salt block, foodie, cooking

Before…

bison burger, Generations, Lake Placid, Himalayan salt block, foodie, cooking

After!

Now that I have shared all this with you, I am developing quite an appetite…  I think you get the point:  Lake Placid offers great experiences beyond its Olympic history and outdoor activities (which I hope to experience in the near future!).  It sits in the beautiful Adirondacks, a blessed corner of our country and one I am glad to have discovered!

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My activities in Lake Placid were facilitated by its Convention and Visitors’ Bureau, and local businesses.  Opinions my own!

Lake Placid: An Olympic of a Town in the Adirondacks

Winter Olympics, Lake Placid, hockey goal, U.S. flag

I have been a fan of the Olympics since I watched the Los Angeles Olympic Games as a teen.  I sat in front of the TV watching as much of it as I could – all those countries that I wanted to visit some day were meeting in this one place to compete.  And me not there. I watched the 1988 Seoul and Calgary Games as much as I could around school and schoolwork.  Years later, when my hometown was bidding for the 1996 Olympic Games, I worked as a volunteer on the bid at the university I studied (Georgia Tech) which was to serve as the Olympic Village.  I made it a goal while working on the Atlanta bid to go to the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and I did – a great experience that I wrote about.  Once the 1996 Olympic Games were being organized, I trained for two years to serve as Envoy to the Chilean delegation.  I worked during the Games for the 6 weeks they operated them and had the experience of a lifetime.  I have continued to watch Olympic competitions from afar despite the rather dubious way they are operated by a clique of about 100 people.  There is just something about seeing all the diverse events that take place in those short weeks!

So, when I had the opportunity during a recent visit to the Adirondacks to explore Lake Placid‘s Olympic-related history, I was all in as you can well imagine!

The Lake Placid Olympic Museum

Lake Placid hosted the Olympics in 1932 and 1980.  I had forgotten about its earlier stint until I read material from Lake Placid’s Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.  Right in the heart of town is the Olympic Center – a collection of facilities that includes the town’s Olympic Museum.

Lake Placid, Olympic museum, New York, Olympus

Welcome to the museum!

I loved the museum because it was manageable and not too big, and also because it had some really interesting collectibles related not only to the Lake Placid Olympic Games but some others about other Olympic Games (such as the commemorative medals, torches, etc.).

I learned some Olympic history and neat trivia which I presume is the point of a museum, no?!  For example, I learned that the very first Olympic medal in a Winter Games (the first Winter Games were in Chamonix in 1924) was awarded to local Charles Jewtraw after winning the 500m speed skating event.  The Americans swung their arms in the speed skating races – a technique not used before and noticed (and picked up later) by the Europeans.  I enjoyed reading about how Godfrey Dewey, after going to the 1928 Winter Games in St. Moritz set out to bring the next Games to his hometown – and got it done within the year!  I also read about Sonja Henie, a Norwegian whose name I had heard before but not fully knowing the full story.  She was an Olympian in the 1924 Chamonix Games at the age of 11!  She finished last in those Games but that inspired her to fight on and win medals in the next three Winter Games!  A lot of these exhibits were accompanied by memorabilia such as the following:

bobsled, helmet, Lake Placid, Henry Homburger, Olympus

Bobsled helmet worn by Henry Homburger when he and his team won silver in 1932 – scary mask!

The hockey goal from the “Miracle on the Ice” in the 1980 Winter Games was there in the museum along with some pieces of gear from the players.

Winter Olympics, Lake Placid, hockey goal, U.S. flag

1980 Gold Medal match hockey goal and U.S. flag

Lake Placid, hockey, Winter Olympics, Olympus

Miracle on Ice U.S. hockey team members’ ID badges

I got to try out a bobsled in the museum with fellow traveler Erin, the awesome World Wanderer!

bobsled, Olympic museum, Lake Placid, Olympus

Crash position!

All in all, this little museum packs a punch and is worth the visit for any Olympics fans out there!

Herb Brooks Arena at the Olympic Center

Whether you watched it on TV (I didn’t) or watched the subsequent movie made to tell this amazing story, the gold medal game for ice hockey in the 1980 Winter Games is now the stuff of legends.  Back in the days of the bad old Soviet Union and the Cold War, this was a game that had more implications than just sports.  I will let you watch the movie if you do not know the story because it is worth watching.  But the outcome is well known so I will share – the U.S. won the bragging rights in a spectacular game.  Great kudos to the late Herb Brooks, the team of the coach, for whom the arena is now named…

Herb Brooks arena, Lake Placid, Winter Olympic Games, Miracle on Ice, Olympus

Magical Herb Brooks Arena at Lake Placid’s Olympic Center

I got to visit the arena and ponder how the place must have sounded that night (on the assumption that those rooting for the local team “slightly” outnumbered the visiting team… and silver medal winners!).  But the real thrill was getting those ice skates on to try the rink!  I was part of a group that was being allowed to skate on the rink after a girls’ competition had finished before the Zamboni came onto the ice to work its magic.  I had not ice skated for over 20 years and… no, it wasn’t just like riding a bike where it comes back in a flash.

ilivetotravel, ice skating, Herb Brooks Arena, Lake Placid, Olympus

Lightning flash fast! Watch out Eric Heiden!

We only had like 10 minutes on the ice and by then end I was doing a little better (no falls!) but not the ease of moving around.  I was bummed I could not stay another 10 minutes to “find my legs.”  However, the miracle that I got to ice skate in this famous piece of ice is definitely one for the books (my books, I suppose!) – we had fun as the following photo with Francesca from The Working Mom’s Travels shows:

ice skating, Herb Brooks Arena, Lake Placid

Oh,no! I am crashing into Francesca! Watch out!

A little luge please

As part of my little tour of Olympic Lake Placid, I was fortunate to be able to visit a training facility for the U.S. Olympic luge team.  This particular facility is only one of two refrigerated start ramp training facilities in the United States used by the U.S. teams.

luge, Olympics, Lake Placid, Olympus

The start ramp

That day, 1998 Nagano Olympian Larry Dolan was gracious enough to spend an hour of his Saturday afternoon to show the group how to do the luge start.  Accompanied by his young cute son (who rode the luge first with his Dad), Larry first had us try the start motion on a luge attached to track (non-iced, and not quite a ramp as it was horizontal).  It was awkward to lay down immediately after pushing off so I got to try it twice.

Larry Dolan, luge, Nagano, U.S. Olympic team

With U.S. Nagano Olympic team member, Larry Dolan, our gracious instructor

Then, came the big moment:  going down the iced ramp.  After pushing off, the luge would go downhill, run horizontal, and the back up a small incline (I assume to help slow it down), ending at a large blue cube made of foam (where the run would end).

I went first.  I put my helmet on, stepped on the ice next to the sled I was about to ride.  As I touched the sled with my shoe, it moved way more than the force of my hit.  Wow, that thing was REALLY sensitive to touch, to movement.  Yikes!!  How would I keep that thing from going haywire downhill and hit the sides of the track???  I got on the sled carefully.  I looked down.  I grabbed the handles of the start line that I would use to push off.  I swung back and forth using the handles and I pushed off!  I leaned back super fast and felt the speed gather.  When on the luge, you can’t look forward, your head has to be back and down for aerodynamics (and we were trying to keep form).  But I could see the blue cube a the top of the uphill at the end and I could see my feet were pointing to the left side of the cube.  Oh, shoot – was I about to end not on the cube but outside and to the left of it??  Never fear, I struck the cube on its left edge and my run was over.  Wow, it was a COOL ride!  Though I wanted so badly to do another run, there was no time as others had to go and our visit was limited in time.  Now that I have tried the start, I sort of wish I could do more.  I also wish we had had luge in the Caribbean where I grew up because I think I would have loved this sport!  Here is the video of my run.  N.B.:  the scream is Erin’s not mine!

Now, around the corner is Sochi!

After this fun visit to Lake Placid that connected me again with the Olympics in such a powerful way, I wish I could be in Sochi during in a couple of few weeks.  But next best is Lake Placid, home of two Winter Games and  key training center of Olympic athletes.  I’d likely hang out at the Lake Placid Pub & Brewery to enjoy their great beers and food (the mousse glasses for dessert are awesome!) as I watched the events.

I cannot think of a better place to go and watch the Winter Olympics this year than the awesome town of Lake Placid in the beautiful Adirondacks!

luge, sled, Lake Placid, Olympic training facility

Great advice from a sled at the luge training facility!

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My activities in Lake Placid were facilitated by its Convention and Visitors’ Bureau.

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